7 Mistakes You’re Making by Overthinking Your Productivity


Many people overthink their productivity.

Time management shouldn’t be complex. Rather, it should simple, efficient, and lifestyle oriented.

Instead of taking that next step, do you find yourself pondering what to do next?

Productivity Shouldn’t Be Complicated

In an interview recently, I was asked about the most common time management mistakes.

One that came up immediately was “overthinking your productivity” efforts.

Too often, people create unneeded confusion by trying to make their productivity too complex. They spend so much time thinking about their productivity that they don’t get around do doing it.

“If you spend all day wondering what you might accomplish, you’ll never find out what you actually can.” (Tweet this Quote)

Productivity shouldn’t be complicated and the simplest action is usually the most efficient.

Don’t waste time overthinking it.

Here are 7 Mistakes You’re Making by Overthinking Your Productivity:

  1. Having Too Many Tools – Too many productivity tools doesn’t lead to efficiency. Rather, it leads to confusion and clutter. Don’t pick up the latest shiny productivity tool (toy?) unless you are going to put another one down. I recommend only having 1 tool per type of task. (See The Power of 1.)
  2. Waiting for the Perfect Time – There is never going to be a perfect time to take action on that goal. Don’t wait for things to slow down (they won’t) and don’t wait for the right time. The best time is now.
  3. Overplanning – Another common mistake in overthinking your productivity, is overplanning. Forever developing the perfect solution doesn’t get the job done. As the saying goes, “A good plan now, always beats a perfect plan next week.”
  4. Thinking There is Only One Way – Don’t get hung up on the “right way” to be productive. Use methods that work for you. We all work slightly differently. Don’t fall for the myth that there is only one way to be productive.
  5. Creating Too Complex of a System – If your time management system requires a flow chart to tell you what you next action, then it is too complicated. If your tools are connected in manner that runs like a Rube-Goldberg machine, then you are overcomplicating things. You aren’t being more efficient, just creating more opportunities for system failure.
  6. Not Making Decisions – This is classic overthinking. You think and think, yet you never choose. If you don’t make decisions, life will make them for you. A bad decision is often better than no decision at all.
  7. Not Starting – Stop the pondering. Start the action. You can’t finish if you never start.

Don’t Overthink Your Productivity

Stop overthinking your productivity and take action.

The simplest way is usually the best. It doesn’t take complex systems or myriad tools.

Don’t overthink it. Just do it today.

Question: Are you overthinking your productivity? How could you simplify your efforts?

9 thoughts on “7 Mistakes You’re Making by Overthinking Your Productivity

  1. I still say you have a “bug” in my mind. Your posts frequently hit me right where I am. Like this one. I am SO guilty of overthinking my productivity. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time this morning analyzing my life and trying to figure out what’s wrong. The truth is – I just need to do something. Thanks for the post today.

  2. I’m definitely guilty of over-thinking things and not getting started. Sometimes the hardest thing is to stop planning the order of my tasks and just pick one to start.

  3. I also have a tendency to over complicate things, especially when trying to streamline my work flow. I am discovering the beauty of a simplicity in this area. Thanks for the great post!

  4. I do find that I try to keep things simple and the biggest clue to when it’s gotten too complicated is that things just aren’t flowing. So by then it’s back to basics, my to-do list and my calendar! I think over-planning is a common issue but when I swing it the other way and plan for more time than I expect, it leaves me with some spare moments to tackle anything that has come up that day or that needs attention.

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  6. Working from home, juggling your personal schedule and your family schedule and making sure it all flows and everyone is on the same page is a challenge. I used to download new productivity apps all the time… but the energy THAT took was such a waste of time. Now I have one big Master List on a piece of scrap paper, a family calendar on the fridge and my phone calendar. My focus now is to get the task done before I write it down.

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